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He called me his ex’s name!

My husband called me by his ex-wife’s name. Should it still bother me?

We all have a mental burp once in a while, says our elder. Let it go.

Dear EWC

Hello, this is an issue I should have written about a year ago because that’s when it happened, but I didn’t know about EWC then. It doesn’t bother me like it used to, but I still remember it. My husband and I had been together for seven years at the time. When I met him, he was divorced and had been for seven years. Last summer, out of the blue, he would be talking and instead of saying my name he referred to me by his ex-wife’s name. The first time I caught him doing it he realized it himself and acted surprised, like he couldn’t believe what he just said. The second time I caught him doing it he didn’t even realize it. The third time I caught him doing it he was on the phone with his sister and I heard him say the wrong name again without even realizing it. This all happened within a month and it was odd because he and his ex-wife don’t exactly communicate anymore (no kids together) and he had been divorced from her for 14 years as of last year when he was getting the names mixed up. This was something that never happened before last summer and it hasn’t happened since. The first time I shrugged it off because I figured it wasn’t a big deal and shrugging it off was the right thing to do. The second time I felt angry and yelled at him. The third time I just felt hurt. He guessed the reasoning behind it was because he was making changes to his cell phone plan. He said his ex-wife’s name was still on the plan from when they were married and her name came up. I guess that’s a logical excuse, but gee whiz! I never realized how hurtful it is when your husband calls you by another woman’s name (especially a woman he was once in love with). I still think about it and hope it doesn’t happen again. Any similar experiences?

Good-Listener replies

I understand how one can feel when a partner blurts out the name of a past love. So, on that level, I do sympathize with your feeling a little hurt, or even just a little odd. Anyone would. However, no one is perfect and sometimes this stuff just happens. You said it only occurred three times, and during that time he was dealing with getting his wife’s name off his cell phone account. She was on his mind and it just came out. I do realize how uncomfortable it could be, but, if possible, let it go. I have seen it happen with friends and their partners, and it likely occurs far more than one might think. We all get something on the brain at times and then it just emerges verbally. If this is not something that happens regularly, I’d focus on all the good things he is in your life, and allow him to have a mental burp once in a while (as we all do). I’m not trying to dismiss your feelings — as I said, it would be uncomfortable for anyone, but I just don’t see this as something you need to hold onto. Good luck.

Letter #: 458884
Category: Marriage

18 Comments

  1. It;s Gonna be ok Reply
    July 8, 2020

    You’ve already stated that you’ve told him about his mishaps. At a certain point, they no longer start becoming mishaps but more like an issue. He can still be missing his ex-wife, and it’s hard to hear it but you can’t deny the fact. You also can’t blame him, now that’s the hardest thing to hear.
    Marriage is a promise to someone you make, he spent 14 years with her. We women would like to avoid the fact that we may need a break from our loved ones at some point, but it may be the thing that helps him to get over the feelings. I’m speaking from experience, love is not a game, its a battlefield and sometimes it’s good to forfeit and other times its good to fight till the very end.
    -It’s Gonna be ok

  2. I came here for shared reactions and the above comment touched me and making me think now. My husband and I are married for 2 years now, and have a one year old baby girl. We are very happy and consider these the best days of our lives. He had a relationship before me with a crazed woman who couldn’t accept their separation and has caused a lot of drama the 1st year between us. She has stolen my Christmas present from him right off his porch, hacked his FB changing his pictures and messaging terible things to his friends/family, moved right across the street from us….she even claimed to have cancer and having chemo (proven lie). A real wackjob if you ask me, but she has been out of our lives for a year and a half now. He called me her name a little bit ago out of nowhere. Not sure how to take it. He must have been thinking of her or had her in his mind. I didn’t say anything, but left to be alone. My husband is a good man, and I know he’s just as hurt as I am that he said it, but still…..those insecurities are still there you know. Going to try and take the commenters advice and let it go. We shall see…..

  3. Lol, had this happen to me several times, I’ve never addressed it with him as my husband is a hot head and would have made me feel bad for pulling him on it, his kids are always talking about her in front of me, again i say nothing but then decided next time do the same, i now say things about my past, but only if they say it first, if they talk about a holiday they all once had as a family etc, i then talk about my past holidays with my ex and our kids, you should see there faces they hate it, but can’t say ought ???, throw it back i say, so again what i did was a while later purposely called him by my ex name then i laughed saying oh god getting bad as you, his face was a picture, nothing was said, i turned away and smiled. Idiots.

    1. I love you for this ??

  4. FailQueen1234 Reply
    January 22, 2021

    Hi! I have same problem, we’re not married but we’ve been living together for about two years, we have a daughter and a dog too. We met on a night out, he was introduced by a friend. That same day we ended up together, though that same night he called me her name in bed, since i tought it was a one night stand i let it slight away. He would change my name for hers on bed repeatedly, I stopped saying anything cause I got pregnant and I thought “maybe I shoud eat my feelings” (that’s how I went from 52 kg to 94 kg during pregnancy) just because I didn’t wanted to put in the emotions I was having on the baby (since I read that babies can feel sadness on the womb). I was out of my head and only focusing on my baby arrival. After 8 months I had my baby, my baby slowly turned into a toddler. And he would still call me her name, but this situation escalated to call me her name from only in bed to daily regular basis, even if he wanted a glass of water he would change my name.

    Someone sent me pictures of the Ex from IG, and damn, that made me cry like a baby. She is gorgeous, she has the most perfect face and body, her boobs are huge and her back looks great too. I couldn’t see any flaw, actually my first thought was “damn, that why he is so obsessed with her!” I felt like I was being torn apart, cause my body had been wrecked after having my baby and I know I would never get that hot since I lost the extra weight of course i have body marks, my baby was born by C-section plus I have acne. So I started thinking “you know what? He needs to leave now” but he won’t leave.
    Since I was waking up from my self-provided amnesia, I confronted him really bad (I got drunk and cried my emotions away). He confronted me and say its no true. For a whyle I thought I was getting crazy for real and that maybe these situations were all in my head… BAD IDEA, cause with the time that made me go really crazy. I had to quit my job to have some peace in mind, I went throught medication (diazepam, etc; wich I hated and ended up quitting). Then for my birthday I had a small sanitized reunion (no one had or got covid from there) and this guy would tell my best friend about how much he misses his hex but he can’t deal that “she acts like a whore” AND HE STILL DENIES IT EVEN THAT I HEARD. I had to forgive him my family got involved. My grandma’s advise is just ignore the bad things, my grandpa on the other hand told me “make a decision and stay still. Tell him what you’re going to accept and refuse on the relationship, get your standards clear and let him know that he can’t be fooling around nor hurting you.” So I wen’t back home after a big fight and did what my grandpa told me, and then isolate myself from the outer world (even on pandemic, its easier) until one day someone hacked my IG account and sent a sexy picture of my butt. He would company me throught this situation (sting up a complaint on the prosecution) this happened a month ago but the breaking point was a week ago. We where just walking and he said “this way EX-NAME” and you know what? I just had it. He is a great friend and a great partner but I just can’t deal with this anymore, it’s been two years and he claims mercy cause according to him “I haven’t gave him the chance” I have gave him lots of my time, evergy, love, I gave my self-steem away, stopped doing what I like because of him, I had changed so, so, sooooo many of me to be with okay him and now that I am reading myself I just cannot believe me! It’s time to get up and stop chasing a guy who’s not over his ex after so much.

    1. Administration Reply
      January 27, 2021

      If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website and an elder will respond: https://www.elderwisdomcircle.org/ask-for-advice/ They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality.

  5. Help… been with partner 1 & a half years and in that time he has called me his ex of 15 years nanme Atleast 6 times! At first I understood it would b a slip up( they weren’t long separated when we found each other.
    But nee years morning his dog was whining alot( I had already been up twice through night with him), and I herd partner tell dog to shoosh n go lie down in an annoyed way. but then he said “ get away down the stairs beside ( ex’s name)!!!
    Well my heart hit the floor and so devasted!
    He was embarrassed as I could hear him as he realised what he done!
    But he gave me the “ I don’t know why I did that “ etc…
    he has done nothing to make up for it and was embarrassed and annoyed at himself so he stayed away and left me nee years day and the Saturday to fester and get more angry instead of manning up and try fix it!
    Surely he should be falling over himself to show me I’m the one he loves and make me feel secure ???‍♀️?help x

    1. Administration Reply
      January 27, 2021

      If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website and an elder will respond: https://www.elderwisdomcircle.org/ask-for-advice/ They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality.

  6. Help… been with partner 1 & a half years and in that time he has called me his ex of 15 years nanme Atleast 6 times! At first I understood it would b a slip up( they weren’t long separated when we found each other.
    But nee years morning his dog was whining alot( I had already been up twice through night with him), and I herd partner tell dog to shoosh n go lie down in an annoyed way. but then he said “ get away down the stairs beside ( ex’s name)!!!
    Well my heart hit the floor and so devasted!
    He was embarrassed as I could hear him as he realised what he done!
    But he gave me the “ I don’t know why I did that “ etc…
    he has done nothing to make up for it and was embarrassed and annoyed at himself so he stayed away and left me nee years day and the Saturday to fester and get more angry instead of manning up and try fix it!
    Surely he should be falling over himself to show me I’m the one he loves and make me feel secure ???‍♀️?help x

    1. Administration Reply
      January 27, 2021

      Hi Jean, I understand your frustration. If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website and an elder will respond: https://www.elderwisdomcircle.org/ask-for-advice/ They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality.

  7. I been married to my husband for 28 years and he has a 34 year old son who he still talks to his mom every now and than. We were talking and he called me by her name this has never happened before in 28 years. I dont know if its because he’s been in contact with her lately because of family issues loosing his mother and his son being away but it really struck a nerve and hurt. I told him how it made me feel he said it was an accident but I was still mad. I dont know how to take this. Am I wrong for getting upset?

    1. Administration Reply
      February 4, 2021

      If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website and an elder will respond: They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality.

  8. This happened to me just this morning. My partner has been separated from his ex for 4 years. We’ve been together for coming up on 3 years. This morning mt alarm went off and he rolled over and reached for me and said her name. I was so so very hurt. He apologized right away however I pushed him away and got up and left the room. When I came back he apologized again and when I told him how it made me feel he got really angry with me. He said that he was upset with my initial reaction but I can’t help but feel uncared for. I’m not really sure what to think of all this. Waking up to your partner for me is an intimate moment. The fact that now I feel like he was thinking or dreaming of her hurts me dearly. I’m having a very hard time moving past it. I know this happens from time to time however the fact that it happened in that moment has made my mind race to so many negative thoughts and now I’m feeling insecure. He doesn’t get it and feels like it means nothing and I should let it go. How am I supposed to deal with this?

    1. Administration Reply
      October 10, 2021

      If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website https://www.elderwisdomcircle.org/ask-for-advice/ and an elder will respond. They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality.

  9. Wew, it just happened to me today. I didnt even realised that he called me his ex-name but he realised it as soon as he mentioned her name.?.
    I’m unaware of the mistake but since he pointed it out, corrected himself, apologised and gave me a kiss and hug because he knows calling me by his ex name would make me feel sad and bothered.

    I told him “I was surprised that you called me by your ex name, you probably used to calling her name a lot”.

    I know they’ve been together for a long time and they have been through a lot together and built a family. He constantly communicates with her due to their child. So ofcourse, he will probably think of her because of his responsibility for their child but not because he still have feelings for her.

    I know that he has to get over of this familiarity with his ex, I wont be bothered by this anymore after I vent this here ?. Cant be bothered by something that will not bring me peace of mind.

    We already settled it and let him know how it feel inside of me.
    But if this mistake happens in multiple occasions or in an intimacy, something should be discuss and talk about.

    I would probably just tell him that mentioning the ex does not make me feel secure in the relationship. I feel more joy if my name is mentioned a lot. Hearing my name from his lips would feel wonderful inside.

    Well if this does not sit well with you and unable to let go of the problem, i guess both need time out.

  10. I can see, by the above comments, that it is not unusual for me to feel hurt when my, now husband, calls me by his ex-wife’s name. We have been together for six years. We just got married in December 2022. He was married for 36 years and she passed away after they were divorced. I was married for 30 years and have never called him by my exes name. I was in a relationship for 15 plus years after my divorce and have never called my husband by my exes’s name either. I told my husband that if his ex wife were still alive, I would not be with him because that would make me feel very insecure. When he does it the most, is when he feels like I am bossing him around. He just did it, again, today. He didn’t finish the exes name. It is Kathy and he said Kath…..then caught himself. He was on the phone with his son one day and said to his son, “me and your mom took a drive to…”. His son just stayed silent and didn’t say anything. I am sure that he still loves her because he is the one who was asked to leave, in his marriage. I was the one to leave, in my marriage so I no longer was in love with my husband. I loved my ex husband, maybe because he is the father of my two kids. He passed away after our divorce. My husband says my name, Linda, a lot when talking to me. I wish he would not use my name because I am always thinking that he will call me Kathy. Well, good to know that I am not alone in my feeling on this subject. I will try not to let it bother me. Thanks for listening.

  11. Good morning everyone,

    I read some if not most of the post, my husband woke me up this morning by calling me his ex-wife name and telling me the alarm was going off. They have been divorced for over 20 years, he and I have been together 4years and married for a little over a year. She has been nothing but mean to him behind his back and telling their two youngest (32 & 26) everything that happened before they were even born. She started doing that when the 32 year old moved in with us. She no longer lives with us and both girls hate their dad. I am trying to let a lot of it go especially since his oldest daughter says the two youngest act like spoiled rotten 5 year olds and will never grow up.
    Just trying to figure out why he would call me by his ex-wife name.. I have done nothing but bend over backwards for him and his kids.. And why does it bother me so much?

    1. Administration Reply
      April 13, 2022

      If you’d like to connect with an elder for some advice on this, please go to our website
      and an elder will respond. They do not respond to posts on Facebook in order to maintain confidentiality. Thank you.

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